Friday, October 10, 2008

Tomorrow morning, we depart for Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jim will be attending an International Bar Association Conference, that will begin on Sunday through next Friday.
We will connect through Miami to Buenos Aires. Total air travel time will be approximately 12 1/2 hours.
This will be our first trip to South America, so I hope to have some interesting information to pass along.

(Click to play)

Sunday October 12, 2008

We arrived in Buenos Aires this morning at 7:30A. The flight from Miami was long and somewhat turbulent as we approached Argentina, due to some storms in the area.
Being that it is Sunday morning, traffic from the airport was relatively light for the 35KM drive to our hotel, The Marriott Plaza.
Our room was upgraded to a junior suite, which makes it very comfortable. A large bedroom, bathroom and living room area.
We slept for a few hours this morning before we went to the Convention Center where Jim had to register for the conference (short 2 block walk).
After the registration we spent the next few hours walking the the shopping district by the hotel, trying to get a feel for the city. We stopped for a beer at a small cafe' and had a light lunch.
Though the time change is only two hours later, we returned to the hotel and napped again before dinner. Our flight was through the night, but was not exactly quality rest.

We had a late dinner at Bar Uriarte, located about 20 minutes from the hotel. Home to the longest bar in Buenos Aires, great service and excellent food.

So far we have found that taxi's and good meals are a bargain.

Monday October 13, 2008

The weather today was overcast and cool. Jim was at the convention center for most of the day.I spent the afternoon just strolling around still trying to get a feel for the area.

Buenos Aires is quite a large city with many smaller areas. Tomorrow I plan on venturing out by cab to try a new area of town to explore.

This evening we had dinner at Casa Cruz, located in the same area as last night in Palermo Soho. When we arrived for our 8:30p dinner reservation, the restaurant was empty. We thought this was a replay of our dinner at the Green T House in China, when we were alone the entire evening. While we were having a cocktail at the bar, taxi's began arriving one after another. By 8:45, the bar area was getting crowded. We were seated for dinner and the dining room came alive. The server told us that the peak time for dinner here is 10:30p. On the weekends, the kitchen closes at 1:30A.

The service and food were excellent. Our appetizer was 4 grilled shrimp in a cream sauce. For entrees- Jim ordered the goat, yes goat. It was actually quite tasty. Tasted similar to smoked pork and is very popular in Argentina. I played it safe with Hake, a mild white fish. If we return for dinner here, I think I will have to order "Billy".

Tuesday October 14,2008

I took a taxi to Recoleta, a very elegant part of Buenos Aires.

I spent the first few hours walking the Cementerio de la Recoleta. A large cemetery located on the edge of the city center. One of the notable family tombs is that of Eve Peron and her family.

The tombs have glass doors/gates that you can look to the inside. Many coffins are visible to the public with some of the coffins being draped in cloth.

The Basilica is located around the corner from the cemetery and was conveniently located for a short visit.

Recoleta is home to many high end shops such as Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Armani. But you can buy more for your pesos if you buy from local designers.

The streets are lined with small shops and cafes'. They are busy but not overly conjested with people or traffic.

Because there are many apartments/condos, there seems to be the need for professional dog walkers. Every block you will find a walker with anywhere from three to eight leased dogs.

After a light lunch and some people watching, I took a 20 min taxi ride back to the hotel.

We had dinner at Club 647. When we arrived at 9P, except for two people at the bar, was desolate. But once again, by 9:30 the room came to life. Another great dinner, pork that was very tender and a rib eye steak that was very different than in the US. It reminded me of a very tender porterhouse without the bone. Desert was very unique mascarpone cheese cake. The cheese was covered with a hardened sugar dome, surrounded by small bits of fresh fruit. The dome, when cracked with a spoon, revealed the cheese.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just wandering around today. No place in particular, just walk and turned down various streets in the area.

I find that many of the small shops off the tourist path are more accommodating with no pressure to buy. They allow you the opportunity to browse without feeling guilty for not making a purchase.

I stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe' and ordered a burger. Instead of the bun, the meat was on medium sized tortillas. Also included, was a thin slice of ham, melted cheese, sliced egg, tomato and lettuce. Though I like eggs, I opted to leave it off the sandwich. Bit of an odd combination, but it seems to be popular here.

While seated outside I was approached a several times by children, young girls 7-9 years old, trying to sell items for cash. They were very polite and the items ranged from small religious calenders to salt and pepper containers. I found it interesting and scary that parents would be sending such young children on the street for money. We would not even think to leave young children alone, yet these kids are voluntarily approaching complete strangers.

There does not seem to be large numbers of homeless, but there are quite a few people asking for money as you walk down the street. (Participants at the convention were warned of street crime in the area, so common sense and awareness of your surroundings is necessary)

Weather was cool and rainy this morning, but cleared up by mid afternoon.

We had dinner at Sucre', a very modern and lively place. The back bar had bottles displayed about 20 feet high to the ceiling. When using the restroom, you walked over the bar on a catwalk.

Dinner was pork rib eye, roasted in a wood burning oven.

Thursday October 16, 2008

Jim was free today from the conference, so we spent the day in Reccoleta and Palermo areas. The weather was very warm, in the mid to upper 70's. The best walking weather since we arrived. After a light lunch in Reccoleta, we walked through wide open parks and neighborhoods. Locals were enjoying the spring weather rollerblading, biking or having a run.

The areas are completely filled with high-rise living. Not once did we come across a single family type home.

We stopped at Plaza de Mayo where you have a view of Casa Rosada. The balcony facing the Plaza is a presidential podium where Evita rallied the working class and Madonna sang her filmed rendition of "Don't Cry for me Argentina".

We had dinner at Resto, that was recommended by a server the other night. It is a small restaurant that seats 28. They are open for lunch M-F, and dinner is only served on Thursday and Friday with only one seating. The staff is attentive and the food excellent. The menu is done by three sets of recommendations for dinner, appetizer/entree/desert, or you can mix and match your selections.

Starter : spider crab with corn -asparagus with goat cheese

Main: Roasted quail with lemon risotto - lamb and pea salad

Desert: Hot chocolate cake with ice cream - creme brulee with fresh blueberries

One of our favorite dinners and restaurant this trip.

Friday/Saturday, October 18 &19 2008

Jim finished his conference by noon today. We had a light lunch in Reccoleta and again roamed the many neighborhoods.

We found a small men's store near the hotel that sold local brands. Jim purchased 3 new suits for a 1/3 of what it would have cost in the US. The owner was very accommodating. He had the suits tailored and delivered to the hotel Friday night.

Dinner was at a relatively new restaurant Francesca. Great room and very accommodating staff. We both had fillet of beef that was almost a double portion. With all the appetizers and sides we were both pretty stuffed after that dinner.

Our flight on Saturday was at 9P and we had to check out of the hotel by 2. We took a city tour (maybe 5 days late) for three hours. We had a group of 6 in a medium sized van. Though we had been to many of the stops during the week, our guide gave us the history behind the areas and monuments. We had a short stop at a street/craft market and purchased a leather mask that will hang in the basement. It is colorful and made locally by a couple who has won awards for their creations.

We spent the remaining afternoon on the riverfront. A mile or so long area loaded with restaurants and shops, all with seating overlooking the river. We had a long Italian lunch before our trip back home. -There are many cars and taxi's here and multi lane roads. The lane lines are ignored. Drivers do not use the lanes. If the vehicle fits, they make a lane.

-I should have paid more attention during Spanish class or remembered that I brought along a translation guide. Both would have been very helpful on this trip.

-Due to the MANY dogs in Buenos Aires, keep your eyes on the ground at all times. You never know what kind of unwanted souveniers you bring back to your hotel.


ChiTown Girl said...

Well, then I guess I won't be seeing you this weekend at Intimo, huh? I miss you!!! Have a wonderful and SAFE trip. I can't wait to read all about it, so please update here often!!! See you when you return!

ChiTown Girl said...

Hmmm, maybe you should share the story you just emailed me....I shouldn't be the only one to enjoy it! ;-)

ChiTown Girl said...

Sounds like you guys are having a glorious time. Can't wait to get the first-person account when you get back. Someone was asking about you last night at the bar. See, I'm not the only one who misses you!! But, of course, I miss you most! ;-)

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